By Andy Bourdeau
Courtesy of TechHockeyGuide.com
Michigan Tech (4-0-0, WCHA 2-0-0) starts the season 4-0-0 after a weekend sweep of Wisconsin, 2-1 and 3-2, with both games going to overtime. Both games were won by the first line of the Huskies, Brett Olson, Jordan Baker and Blake Pietila, with Olson and Baker the getting points on the game winner each night.
Both teams played strong and each netted one goal in regulation, but it was the home Huskies that found the net in OT to continue their undefeated streak to three.
“I’m really happy for the kids, they came out strong and deserved the win,” MTU head coach Mel Pearson praised after the game. “We could not have asked for a better start.”
Tanner Kero started the scoring for the Huskies when he won a battle down low, fed the pass up to Riley Sweeney, who passed it back for a tip in by Kero. It was a nice goal from the freshmen tandem.
Pearson had praise for the freshmen as well, saying, “Kero had a nice goal to start us off, only a month in and he has his first goal, good for him, now to get (David) Johnstone one.”
Baker started the game strong and had chances all night. He was finally rewarded in OT, when he was left all alone in front of the net and tapped in an empty-netter for the win, his second goal of the year and his second game winning goal of the year.
“Josh Robinson played great tonight, he is playing with a lot of confidence. It is nice when you have that, ” Pearson stated.
Robinson allowed only one goal, a power play goal, in the third. Robinson ended the game with 23 saves on 24 shots.
For the second straight night, the Huskies and Badgers skated into overtime, and again, the home Huskies managed to find the back of the net, 20 seconds into the overtime. It was the same line that scored the game winner last night, but Baker and Olson traded points, Olson shot low on the Wisconsin goalie and the puck found its way to the back of the net.
"Really proud of the efforts of our kids, they are really playing well and playing for each other. This is just the start; I think we can play even better,” assistant coach Bill Muckalt commented after the game.
Like Friday, MTU took the lead when Kero tipped in a power play goal, assisted by Sweeney and Daniel Sova. An apparent goal from Pietila was waved off because of goalie interference.
Wisconsin tied it up in the second and the period ended with a 1-1 tie heading into the third.
In the third, on the power play again, Jacob Johnstone tipped in a shot from Pietila. Steven Siego also received an assist on the goal. Wisconsin had a goal in the third waved off as well, again goalie interference was the reasoning behind the wave off. But minutes later, UW put one in to tie the game at 2.
MTU had to kill off a 5-minute major, and the Huskies did not give up any quality chances in all five minutes, a big momentum changer for the game.
“Momentum to after we kill that was huge, it really changed the tide, the guys came up huge,” said Muckalt.
In the OT, both teams put their top lines out, it was MTU that won the battle, got the puck low and Olson walked out from behind the net and put a shot on that went in. Nearly all 3075 fans in the MacInnes erupted and they find their Huskies with as many wins now as they had all of last year.
Robinson got the call again in the net and was able to pull out the win, stopping 21 of 23 shots.
MTU travels to Bemidji next weekend for the first road trip of the year.